The Racino at Resorts World in Queens is by almost all accounts a wild success. In its short life already the casino claims to be "the highest-grossing slot facility in the country with about $7.6 billion wagered to date." But all that success doesn't come without its fair share of violence. But not necessarily the kind you think.
Early fears that the Racino would incite serious crime appear to be unfounded. Since it opened last October there have been just "19 arrests of casino patrons for larcenies, mostly pickpocketing, and 19 arrests for assault." But that isn't the whole story. As the Times reports today the Racino has also seen 41 arrests for people attacking slot machines. And that's just the arrests. "It happens like three, four times a week, and that’s only on my shift," a security guard at the casino told the paper of record.
“I lost $300 without a bonus, so yes, I broke the machine,” George Govan, a 56-year-old man from Brooklyn, told security guards when he punched through a terminal screen in January, according to court records. “And I’d do it again.” (Mr. Govan pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 90 days in jail.)
Most people accused of attacking the machines are charged with criminal mischief in the third degree, which carries a maximum sentence of a year in jail. And not everyone punches the machines! "Catherine E. Beckett, from Long Island City, caused $1,800 in damage to a machine after she slapped it three times. Ms. Beckett’s case is continuing."
Apparently the issue has become so prevalent that the New York Lottery had to send out a memo about how to deal with the problem:
The offender must first be offered the chance to pay for the damage (cash, check or credit card) according to the bulletin; the police are called if the person refuses. Customers are not liable for accidents — like if a machine is damaged during a jackpot-induced burst of enthusiasm — unless they are visibly drunk, according to the lottery’s memo.
Well, so much for our plan to dress up as a slot machine and head to the Racino this Halloween.